Roxannna Aliba Kazibwe is a Christian, an author, published poet and entrepreneur. Each week, we interview our guests for the #Babishai2016 poetry festival scheduled for 24-26 August in Kampala.
|Roxanna (Courtesy photo)|
1. Roxanna, your poetry collection, “My Love is not Afraid,” is a creative narrative of Agape love, filial love, eros and God’s abundant grace. Your inspirational blog reflects the same. How does this knowledge affect your daily work?
This growing understanding and experience of God’s love for mankind is the basis for all my work. It is the foundation and motivation for my writing. I aim at encouraging and empowering others because love is enabling and not crippling. I hope to reassure all who read and/or hear me in the love of God for us. I want to remove any notion in people’s minds that God is at war with us, angry with us or out to get us. God is for us, He is on our side. For all who believe in Him, He adopts as children and therefore as His heirs. I think being grounded in this identity is what can help a person to flourish and so it is my main focus.
2. Do you have specific audiences you write for?
I have various forums on which I write and each targets a different audience.
On my blog at youarebeingloved.org I write for people who need encouragement and advice on knowing their purpose and fulfilling their potential.
On my author page I write for people who enjoy literature; I share short stories, poems and my writing processes.
Overall, I write for people who need a love, hope and faith boost J
3. What are some of the criticisms you receive from your writing?
Some people comment that it sounds too good and is therefore idealistic: to be loved unconditionally by a perfect God.
I chose to be true to my message and not try to wrap it to fit another. It’s okay to cause a little discomfort J
|Roxanna's poetry collection,2015|
Then there’s the “you are too young to be giving advice on this” line.
I came to terms with the fact that I don’t have to wait to be a certain age to share the things that I am learning. I hope by doing this other people even much younger than me will be spurred on to do the same.
I’ve also been told that my poems are easy to understand.
4. What do you think is different from Christian writing and secular writing?
Everyone has their unique writing experience. Here’s mine:
I’ve always been a writer but I didn’t always have a relationship with Jesus.
Before, I used to write about my own experiences and/or thoughts/imaginations and so the piece could be dark or bright depending on my mood. Be informed that I had a bout of depression at some point so you can imagine what those pieces were like. All in all, I wrote for myself.
Now, I write the Truth. The Truth is consistent and is not dependent on my mood. I like to think of my hand being “the hand of a ready writer” passing on whatever it is that God wants me to share. Now, I write for Him for the sake of others.
I must admit that I get more joy from it because when someone reads your work they are not just understanding your words but they feel the feelings you felt as you wrote and so I’m able to pass on peace, comfort, hope, a good expectation, love, rejoicing through my writing.
|Roxanna at Babishai Niwe World Poetry Day Celebrations in Kabale, 2015|
5. During the Easter Weekend, one of your plays, The Encounter was performed at Worship Harvest Church. Share what it was about.
“The Encounter” in a nutshell is about God’s power and love: God’s love for mankind and His power over sin, death and their proprietor the devil. It’s the Easter story where Jesus is portrayed as a devoted prince, Tsozo; the Church is portrayed as a helpless girl bound for death, Nissa; and the devil is portrayed by a pompous, deceitful leader, Sly.
I’m working on a print version of the play. It will be ready in July.
6. You’re an entrepreneur. Tell us a bit about your businesses.
One of my businesses is Birella. A fresh fruit juice company that offers natural cocktail juice that is healthy and tasty. We deliver the juice on order at the customer’s convenient location. A customer can expect it to be ice cold and delivered on time. Our clients include event organisers (weddings, introductions, parties, concerts), offices, schools and homes.
Apart from my published or performed work, I compose customized poems for functions, organisations and personal use. On occasion I work as a ghostwriter.
I also do one on one reviewing and guidance for writers.
7. What, in your opinion, is the best diet for poets?
Hahaha that will be a full plate of reading and goblet of writing.
Anyway, it is in the best interest of a poet to read/listen/watch other poets’ work. A poet could even zero down on some poets that write on a similar subject or have a similar style to theirs and he/she studies and learns from them. If the poet (that one is studying) is still alive, one can reach out to them and ask questions (thank God for Twitter) without being stalker-ish.
It is also key to write and write and write some more. This will help you write better and write faster. It will keep you in shape.
Don’t be a closet poet, share what you write with 1) other poets so that they can get some much needed, (especially) technical criticisms (2) readers of poetry so that you can get feedback e.g on how it made them feel, did they understand your message, did they enjoy your style, was it confusing etc.
8. What do you expect at the #Babisha2016 Poetry Festival?
Oh! I really look forward to this three day buffet of interaction, learning, networking, being challenged, growing and fun with poets!
I expect a diverse delegation of talented, charged poets and an atmosphere of creativity, inspiration and an appreciation of art.
9. Any parting remarks?
Thanks to Babishai Niwe for creating this platform. See you in August!
Thank you Roxanna
The #Babishai2016 Poetry Festival runs from 24-26 August in Kampala. For details, visit www.babishainiwe.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org